Daily headlines

February 2021 headlines

Keep up with February 2021’s news with our digest of daily updated headlines about the business, regulation and campaigns around UK fracking, shale, and onshore oil and gas.

Click here for headlines from previous months. Please let us know if we’ve missed something important  contact@DrillOrDrop.com

Wressle oil site, 28 January 2021. Photo: Union Jack Oil

Key headlines

  • UKOG scales back High Court injunction – campaigners claim victory
  • Planners support Balcombe well test plans
  • Egdon announces start of Wressle oil flows
  • BBC fined £28,000 for contempt of court after broadcasting footage of Horse Hill court case
  • Production falls at Horse Hill during October workover
  • Large losses for big oil
  • Residents accuse IGas of “speculative, misleading and unsound” application to extend life of shale gas site
  • Planners back Angus Energy well test for Balcombe

Sunday 28 February 2021

Death of anti-fracking campaigner, Ian Crane. DrillOrDrop report on tributes to the opponent of fracking, Ian R Crane, who died last week 

Friday 26 February 2021


SUVs and extra traffic cancelling out electric car gains in Britain. The Guardian reports on research by the National Audit Office which found the popularity of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and an increase in road traffic have helped to cancel out expected reductions from low-emission car sales.

British public underestimate heating emissions, overestimate aviation – IMechE poll. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers reports on its poll which found the British public underestimate the contribution of heating their homes to UK greenhouse gas emissions, but overestimate the relative importance of emissions from aviation.

Thursday 25 February 2021

Drax scraps plan for Europe’s largest gas plant after climate protests. The Guardian and others report that environmental groups had argued that the Drax proposal to replace coal-powered power generation with gas was inconsistent with carbon emission targets. Friends of the Earth welcomes the news.

“HGVs will be rumbling through Balcombe for a year”. The Argus carries a letter from Balcombe resident Rebekah Heaton about proposals by Angus Energy to carry out a well test at its site in the village.

University of Edinburgh removes investments from fossil fuels. The Herald reports an announcement by Edinburgh University that it has stopped all investments in fossil fuels.

Ineos, Engie partner on hydrogen pilot project. Yahoo reports that Ineos and Engie plan a pilot project to replace methane with hydrogen at the Ineos plant in Belgium. Initially, 10% of the gas feed will be replaced with hydrogen, with an increase to 20% if it is successful.

Wednesday 24 February 2021

East Yorkshire declares a climate emergency at third vote. DrillOrDrop report on East Riding Council’s climate change review panel.

Environment Agency urged to oppose Isle of Wight drilling plans on climate change. DrillOrDrop report on calls by campaigners following statements from the Environment Agency’s chief executive.

Tuesday 23 February 2021

£9.9 billion still invested in fossil fuels by local government pension funds. DrillOrDrop report on UK research by Platform and Friends of the Earth. Business Green, Guardian, BBC News

Monday 22 February 2021

Angus Energy to seek new drilling target at Lidsey after new mapping shows previous wells were on the edge of the reservoir. DrillOrDrop report

Government must “plug the gap” in carbon policy. DrillOrDrop report of a letter from environmental campaigner, Sarah Finch, to the local government secretary, Robert Jenrick. She calls for a review of planning policy and guidance so that carbon emissions from the use of oil and gas are considered in planning applications for production.

Saltfleetby loan update. Angus Energy reports a “best efforts” expression of commitment in a conditional mandate letter for £8m-£9m towards the proposed £12m Saltfleetby equipment finance and field development loan facility. The mandate commitment is conditional on participation of other institutions and investors for the remaining £3m-£4m. A group of investors led by Aleph Energy has also indicated soft commitments of about £11m for the same loan facility.

Balcombe recommendation. Angus Energy welcomes the recommendation by West Sussex County Council planners to approve the company’s application for a one-year well test.

Fresh loan from Reabold gives Corallian a shot at Victory. Energy Voice reports that Reabold Resources has agreed to loan Corallian Energy £1m.

Friday 19 February 2021

Planners support plans for Balcombe well test. DrillOrDrop report on the recommendation by West Sussex County Council planners to approve Angus Energy’s application for a one-year well test. Mid Sussex Times (22/2/2021), change.org (21/2/2021)

Government minister to be asked to rule on Rathlin Energy’s expansion and production plans at West Newton-A. DrillOrDrop report on objections to the ruling by East Riding of Yorkshire Council on whether the proposals need an environmental impact assessment.

Union Jack seeks to “attract new investors” with share consolidation. DrillOrDrop report on plans by Union Jack Oil to consolidate every 200 existing shares into one consolidated share.

Thursday 18 February 2021

Fracking moratorium does not cover proppant squeeze – minister. DrillOrDrop report on a parliamentary answer to a question about the planned Wressle proppant squeeze.

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Third Energy begins to decommission North Yorks gas site. DrillOrDrop report on Third Energy plans to use new technology to plug and abandon the Malton A wellsite in Ryedale.

Ellerby Parish Council sends concerns to East Riding of Yorkshire over environmental impact assessment ruling on Rathlin Energy West Newton A wellsite. Updated report by DrillOrDrop

Over 3,000 objections to exploratory oil drilling application, say campaigners. On the Wight reports a total of 3,274 objections to the plans by UKOG to drill at Arreton on the Isle of Wight and 73 in support.

Oil firms should disclose carbon output, says BlackRock. The Guardian reports that the world’s biggest investor wants polluting industries to set targets to cut emissions and reach net zero

Tuesday 16 February 2021

New plan for Notts shale gas site criticised as “speculative, misleading and unsound” – residents complain: “quite frankly we’ve had enough”. DrillOrDrop report on responses to IGas application to extend the life of its Springs Road site at Misson in Nottinghamshire. Lincolnshire Live (1/3/2021).

Greater Manchester Pension Fund criticised for ‘woeful’ response to calls to divest from fossil fuel firms. The Manchester Evening News reports that Tameside Council, which manages the fund, is under pressure to bring it in line with the city-region’s carbon neutral ambitions. The fund was criticised for its “woeful” response to calls to divest from fossil fuel firms and align itself with local climate change policies.

Monday 15 February 2021

OGA launches full investigation into possible licence breach. The Oil & Gas Authority announces that it has opened an investigation into a possible breach of reporting requirements under a licence. The OGA was unable to answer DrillOrDrop’s questions about whether the investigation involved an onshore operator and what the potential breach involved.

Friday 12 February 2021

Council urged to rethink ruling on West Newton drilling and production plans in East Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report on call for East Riding of Yorkshire Council to reconsider EIA decision for West Newton-A planning application.

Supreme Court rules that polluted Nigerian communities can sue Royal Dutch Shell in the English courts. The law firm Leigh Day reports that the Supreme Court has ruled that two Nigerian communities can bring their legal claims for clean-up and compensation against Royal Dutch Shell Plc and its Nigerian subsidiary in the English courts.

Thursday 11 February 2021

Fractured debate – what the latest research says about hardening attitudes to shale gas. DrillOrDrop report on the latest publication from the ASSIST project and the government’s BEIS Wave Tracker survey

Source: ASSIST project

UKOG announces completion of second instalment on equipment. UK Oil & Gas announces it has completed the second instalment (£550,000) has been made to PW Well Test Limited for the purchase of Horse Hill surface production equipment.

IGas trading update. IGas reports: net production for 2020 was 1,907 boepd; costs $33/boe; net cash capital expenditure £6m; cash balances £2.4m; net debt £12.2m. Final results expected on 7 April 2021.

Europa Oil & Gas Holdings placing. Europa announces it has raised £1.5m in a share placing and has granted a broker option to raise up to £500,000 more. The placing shares will represent 19% of the company’s enlarged share capital. Proceeds will be used on onshore fields at West Firsby, including potential workovers on WF2 and WF9 wells.

Wednesday 10 February 2021

UKOG submits appeal against Loxley refusal. DrillOrDrop report

Cumbria County Council to reconsider plans for new coal mine. I News and others report Cumbria County Council will reconsider the planning application for a new coal mine near Whitehaven after receiving “new information” on the development’s potential climate impact from government advisers.

Fossil fuel pollution causes one in five premature deaths globally: study. Reuters reports on a study in the journal Environmental Research which concluded that the health impacts of burning coal, oil and natural gas may be far higher than previously thought.

UK government consultation on carbon capture, usage and storage. The UK government consultation opens on cluster sequencing for CCUS. The consultation closes on 10 March 2021.

Tuesday 9 February 2021

Judge “radically scales back” UKOG protest injunction. DrillOrDrop report from today’s High Court hearing.

Sunday 7 February 2021

EU urged to quit energy treaty as companies sue over climate action. The FT (paywall) reports that the EU is facing calls to quit the Energy Charter Treaty after the German energy group RWE last week said it was suing the Dutch government for €1.4bn in damages over the country’s decision to phase out coal by 2030. 

Barclays lost £90m on fracking. The Times (paywall) reports that Barclays’ foray into fracking cost the bank more than £90m before shale gas extraction was banned by ministers. DrillOrDrop reported in January 2020 that Barclays had written off an £80m loan when it sold Third Energy (a mainly conventional gas company) to the UK affiliate of Alpha Energy. We also reported at that time that Barclays gave Third Energy £12m to meet “known liabilities” and for working capital.

Friday 5 February 2021

Campaigners claim victory over UKOG injunction. DrillOrDrop report on reaction to UKOG’s request to scale back the terms of its High Court injunction. The Canary (8/2/2021)

Thursday 4 February 2021

UKOG abandons injunction on slow walking protests. DrillOrDrop report on UKOG request to scale back the terms of its High Court injunction

IGas quits London HQ in cost cutting. DrillOrDrop report

Angus Energy grants 26 million share options. Angus Energy announces is has granted share options under the company’s employee incentive scheme to directors and staff. The management director, George Lucan, Carlos Fernandes and Andrew Hollis receive 5m shares each.

Shell sinks to losses of $19.8bn in 2020 as Covid bites. Energy Voice reports that Shell recorded pre-tax losses of £19.8 billion during an “extraordinary” 2020 marked by the Covid-19 pandemic and lower commodities prices.

Wednesday 3 February 2021

BBC fined £28,000 for contempt of court after broadcasting footage of Horse Hill court hearing. DrillOrDrop report of ruling by High Court judges. Press Gazette, Express and Star, Mirror, Law Society Gazette

Anti-oil drilling campaigners call for extension to consultation due to website outage. On The Wight reports that campaigners working to oppose plans to drill for oil west of Arreton are calling on the council to extend the public consultation period on revised plans submitted by UK Oil & Gas. A public consultation runs until 12 February but there was no access to the planning portal from mid-afternoon on Friday 29 January to the morning of Monday 1 February.

Big oil hit by record losses from pandemic and clean fuel. The FT (paywall) reports that following a “brutal” 12 months for the oil industry some of the world’s largest energy companies have reported record annual losses. It says Exxon Mobil made losses of more than $20bn in 2020, the first annual loss in its history, while BP’s loss was the first since Deepwater Horizon more than a decade ago.

The end of oil approaches, but the stock market games are just beginning. The online magazine, Maddyness, asks what UK Oil & Gas is looking for and will its shareholders ever cash in.

Tuesday 2 February 2021

BP’s profits crash after pandemic year. BP reported an $18bn replacement cost lost for the year, compared with a $3.5bn profit in 2019. Investors Chronicle, FT (paywall), Bloomberg

Monday 1 February 2021

Egdon announces start of oil flow at Wressle. DrillOrDrop report on reperforation and flow test at Wressle in North Lincolnshire. Also Upstream Online. Later reports by BBC News (5/2/2021), GI Media (5/2/2021) and the Lincolnite (5/2/2021)

Horse Hill oil production drops during workover – latest data. DrillOrDrop report on monthly production statistics

Revealed: The North Sea oil giants fueling climate change with millions of tonnes in preventable emissions. Unearthed reports that the British government is allowing oil companies to release the equivalent of a coal power station’s worth of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year by burning off or dumping unwanted natural gas into the atmosphere. Official documents obtained by the website show , for the first time, the companies most responsible for the largest emissions from oil and gas facilities in the North Sea between 2015 and 2019, the most recent years for which data is available.  

Labour demands ban on North Sea gas flaring. The FT reports the Labour party has called for a ban on UK North Sea oil operators burning or releasing gas “except in dire safety emergencies” after data showed the contentious practice of “flaring and venting” in the region is responsible for a coal plant’s worth of carbon emissions each year. 

1 reply »

  1. Norway banned ‘non-emergency’ flaring in 1972. Almost half a century later and with COP26 approaching, UK govt still turn a blind eye to all those GHG emissions. Quelle surprise.

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